The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Conservatives introduce ‘food welfare’ block grant bill

A group of House conservatives today introduced legislation that would combine the supplemental nutrition assistance program and five other food programs into a single block grant to the states.

The bill was introduced by Republican Reps. Paul Broun of Georgia, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

The bill would combine the following programs, which the group called “food welfare:”
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
  • Community Food Projects
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

“Given the nation’s $16 trillion of debt, four years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, and a 297-percent explosion over the last decade in SNAP (food stamp) spending alone, Washington has to get serious about unchecked entitlement growth,” the sponsors said in a joint statement.

“In block granting nutrition assistance, as this legislation does, states will not only be able to set the criteria as they see fit, but will be held accountable for the decisions they make,” they said. “By putting control of the program in the hands of those closest to the taxpayers and the people utilizing the benefits, the American people will have greater opportunity to reward good leadership and punish bad decision-making.”

“This legislation builds on the successful welfare reforms of the 1990s that recognized that 50 states have 50 different populations with 50 different priorities,” the statement said.

“One-size-fits-all does not work with education, health care, or transportation — it most certainly will not with nutrition assistance. This legislation also rolls back spending to pre-recession levels. If liberals are correct that the nation is better off now than four years ago, then returning to spending levels of four years ago should not be a problem.”